100 books like Life Without Children

By Roddy Doyle,

Here are 100 books that Life Without Children fans have personally recommended if you like Life Without Children. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Fell: A Novel

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

One of the first novels set in COVID times, The Fell, by British author Sarah Moss, is presented from the perspective of four neighbours living in an English village over the timespan of a single night in the winter of 2020. The narrative charts their experiences and reflections on life as they struggle with boredom, loss of employment, having to work and learn from home, and feelings of isolation and claustrophobia. One of the characters simply can’t take it anymore and leaves her home during a period of mandated quarantine. These people care about and watch over each other as best they can, but the feelings of being under surveillance are strong. A dark but compelling read, masterfully written.

By Sarah Moss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A slim, tense page-turner . . . I gulped The Fell down in one sitting.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of The Pull of the Stars

From the award-winning author of Ghost Wall and Summerwater, Sarah Moss's The Fell is a riveting novel of mutual responsibility, personal freedom, and the ever-nearness of disaster.

At dusk on a November evening, a woman slips through her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two-week mandatory quarantine period, a true lockdown, but she can’t take it anymore—the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And…


Book cover of Creative Resilience and COVID-19: Figuring the Everyday in a Pandemic

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

This edited volume, by academics Irene Gammel and Jason Wang from Ryerson University, Canada, includes contributions from authors living across the world. The chapters focus on how the arts and culture can both express and document people’s thoughts, practices, and feelings about living through the COVID pandemic. There are discussions on the role of drawing, graphic fiction, cinema, diary writing, urban space, music, streaming services, film, and video conferencing platforms in helping people cope with COVID life. Reading the book provides insights into the different social, cultural, and geographical contexts in which the pandemic has been experienced and how people adjusted to the often very stressful conditions of lockdown, restrictions on movements, fear about their health and grief.

By Irene Gammel (editor), Jason Wang (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creative Resilience and COVID-19 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Creative Resilience and COVID-19 examines arts, culture, and everyday life as a way of navigating through and past COVID-19. Drawing together the voices of international experts and emerging scholars, this volume explores themes of creativity and resilience in relation to the crisis, trauma, cultural alterity, and social change wrought by the pandemic.

The cultural, social, and political concerns that have arisen due to COVID-19 are inextricably intertwined with the ways the pandemic has been discussed, represented, and visualized in global media. The essays included in this volume are concerned with how artists, writers, and advocates uncover the hope, plasticity, and…


Book cover of Covid Chronicles: A Comics Anthology

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

The COVID Chronicles is an anthology of graphic fiction about COVID life. The dozens of contributors are mostly based in the US but also come from Australia, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Asia. There are a dizzying array of art styles and tones across the collection, from humorous to darkly grim. Together, all the graphic narratives reveal the ups and downs of pandemic life in the early months of COVID: from dealing with loneliness, unemployment, illness, and death, transitioning to working from home, racism, and the Black Lives Matter protests to seeking opportunities to show love, care, connection, and hope.

By Kendra Boileau (editor), Rich Johnson (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Covid Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees. When we weren't sheltering in place, we were advised to wear masks, wash our hands, and practice social distancing. We watched in horror as medical personnel worked around the clock to care for the sick and dying. Businesses were shuttered, travel stopped, workers were furloughed, and markets dropped. And people continued to die.

Amid all this uncertainty, writers and artists from around the world continued to create comics, commenting directly on how individuals, societies, governments, and markets reacted to the worldwide crisis. COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology collects more…


Book cover of The Year That Changed Our World: A Photographic History of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

This book presents hundreds of photographs taken by Agence France Presse around the world in the first 18 months of the COVID pandemic. The images span the full range from the mundane (people exercising at home) to the bizarre (weird home-made face masks) to those that are frightening and tragic (mass coffins and graves). Over 150 countries are represented in these images, which are arranged chronologically, thereby presenting a visual global timeline of the major events occurring during this crucial early period of the continuing pandemic, when this disease was still a mysterious threat. This book helps us to remember the feelings of urgency, confusion, panic, and fear that were part of this period, as people came to terms with the upheavals wrought by the pandemic.

By Agence France Presse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Year That Changed Our World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Year That Changed Our World is the definitive, visual history of the Covid-19 Pandemic. With more than 400 photographs, this ambitious publication traces the arc of the Pandemic from China in early 2020 through to the vaccine breakthroughs of Spring 2021.

Behind the relentless nature of the daily news since the events on Wuhan in early 2020 first broke, and the sense of fear and trepidation that the rapidly developing events provoked, what have we seen of the real stories of the world during the Pandemic? What can be told of how we lived through the pandemic and of…


Book cover of The Gathering

Elizabeth Baines Author Of Astral Travel

From my list on fighting to overcome the legacy of their parents’ past.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age, I was steeped in stories. My mother is a great storyteller and would tell vivid and exciting stories of her childhood, giving me a great sense of my own life as a part of the story of generations. We moved around a lot for my father’s job, which was sometimes disorientating and could lead to loneliness, and I took refuge in libraries and in writing stories of my own. By the time I left school, literature was my big love and mainstay, and I took a degree in English and later taught it in schools. Reading and writing stories has since become my life.

Elizabeth's book list on fighting to overcome the legacy of their parents’ past

Elizabeth Baines Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I was engrossed by this beautifully written book about the way that things that happened in a previous generation can affect one’s happiness without one even knowing about them.

I totally identified with protagonist Veronica as she looks for clues as to why her brother committed suicide by imagining scenes from her parents’ past.

When I registered the subtle moment that was crucial to it all, everything fell into stark and terrible place, and it took my breath away. Both witty and sad, the book left a deep impression on me.

By Anne Enright,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gathering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Witty, original, inventive...utterly compelling' Daily Mail

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn't the drink that killed him - although that certainly helped - it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother's house, in the winter of 1968.

The Gathering is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars.

'It is clearly the product of a remarkable intelligence, combined…


Book cover of Anybody Out There?

Jennifer Saint Author Of Elektra

From my list on grief and complicated family dynamics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the unbroken chain of storytelling that stretches from the ancient world to the present day, which is why I write mythological retellings. So many myths tackle grief and families in all their myriad forms and shapes, and their continued existence shows us how storytelling is a healing process and always has been. We can see our own complicated family relationships and the profound impact of love and loss reflecting back to us across the centuries. Fiction continues to do this for us today too and I’ve chosen the modern books which I think do this the best. 

Jennifer's book list on grief and complicated family dynamics

Jennifer Saint Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is my favourite book from my all-time favourite author. I will never forget reading this for the first time, in my then-boyfriend’s flat at the start of our relationship. I ignored him all day (it’s ok, we ended up married) until I’d read it cover to cover. Marian Keyes knows how to pack a devastating emotional punch within her witty, entertaining novels and this is one of the most brutal. It’s a crystal-clear insight into grief, a book that made me sob uncontrollably, and there is no one better at presenting the frustrations and comforting joy of family dynamics and friendships. I don’t think there is any other book that has wrought so many tears from me, both of sadness and laughter.  

By Marian Keyes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anybody Out There? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bestselling author Marian Keyes has delighted readers with the lives, loves, and foibles of the irrepressible Walsh sisters and their eccentric mammy. In this Life in the Big Apple is perfect for Anna. She has the best job in the world, a lovely apartment, and great friends. Then one morning, she wakes up in her mammy's house in Dublin with stitches in her face, a dislocated knee, hands smashed up, and no memory at all of what happened. As soon as she's able, Anna's flying back to Manhattan, mystified but determined to find out how her life turned upside down.…


Book cover of Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID

Susan M. Sterett Author Of Litigating the Pandemic: Disaster Cascades in Court

From my list on governing disasters in a changing climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to everyday experiences in courts. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I’ve been writing and teaching about courts, social welfare, and disasters in a changing climate. Following the disasters requires noticing the routine cases filed, not only the notable constitutional claims the United States Supreme Court hears. That can be hard to do, because all the cases filed are not listed in any one place. In the pandemic, my interest in the more ordinary met the databases that people assembled, gathering as best possible the many cases filed about the pandemic.

Susan's book list on governing disasters in a changing climate

Susan M. Sterett Why did Susan love this book?

Sure, people objected to pandemic mitigation measures in other countries. Only in the United States were objections partisan.

This book elegantly relies on public opinion surveys to demonstrate the costs of partisanship in the pandemic. The authors discuss the economy, immigration, and voting. They document the Trump administration’s efforts to make mitigating the pandemic partisan. Masks are not inherently partisan. Our friends in medicine wear them all the time. In parts of Asia, many have used them to limit viruses’ spread.

Even before the pandemic, in the United States, partisanship had become at least as much about personal identity as policy differences. Every personal decision could signal partisanship. By meticulously capturing the pandemic and partisanship, the authors warn of the ongoing difficulties of managing disasters in a divided country.

By Shana Kushner Gadarian, Sara Wallace Goodman, Thomas B. Pepinsky

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pandemic Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the politicization of the pandemic endangers our lives-and our democracy

COVID-19 has killed more people than any war or public health crisis in American history, but the scale and grim human toll of the pandemic were not inevitable. Pandemic Politics examines how Donald Trump politicized COVID-19, shedding new light on how his administration tied the pandemic to the president's political fate in an election year and chose partisanship over public health, with disastrous consequences for all of us.

Health is not an inherently polarizing issue, but the Trump administration's partisan response to COVID-19 led ordinary citizens to prioritize what…


Book cover of Tom Lake

Jessica Saunders Author Of Love, Me

From my list on books that feature a celebrity falling for a “normal” person.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I loved singing and acting and fantasized about what it might be like to be a famous movie star. Though the practical side of my brain led me to become a lawyer instead, my fascination with Hollywood never waned. When I set out to write my first novel, I finally had the opportunity to explore celebrity culture. But I'm just a regular person, living a very normal life. The books I’m recommending lift the curtain on fame and explore the ultimate fantasy: what if a beloved, uber-famous actor or actress actually fell in love with you? 

Jessica's book list on books that feature a celebrity falling for a “normal” person

Jessica Saunders Why did Jessica love this book?

Ann Patchett is well-known for her gorgeous writing, and not surprisingly, I was swept away by this book.

Long ago, Lara had a relationship with the famous actor Peter Duke, and she shares the story of their romance with her three adult daughters as they hunker down at the family’s cherry orchard during the pandemic.

The chapters about the love affair were compelling, but I connected even more deeply with the relationships between the women. As an added bonus, the glorious Meryl Streep narrated the audiobook, and I swapped between the digital and audio versions of this one because I didn’t want to put it down!

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Tom Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER * THE NO. 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A REESE WITHERSPOON AND BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB PICK 'A new Ann Patchett novel is always cause for celebration ... and Tom Lake is one of her best' i 'This comforting summer read has it all ... Young love, sibling rivalry and deep mother-daughter relationships' REESE WITHERSPOON 'Filled with the moments I live for in a story' BONNIE GARMUS, author of Lessons in Chemistry 'One of the most beloved authors of her generation' SUNDAY TIMES ----------------------------- This is a story about Peter Duke who went on…


Book cover of A Dark-Adapted Eye

Emilia Bernhard Author Of Designs on the Dead

From my list on subtle cruelty.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who’s had a lifelong interest in psychology, especially abnormal psychology, I’ve always been fascinated the small destructions some people inflict on others – sometimes even on themselves. For me the greatest crime is not to kill someone but to reduce them by making their life uncomfortable or unwelcome. The ability to do this is what I would call a “negative skill.” It’s not easy, but some people do it uncannily well, and without caring. Perhaps because this is so alien to me, I remain riveted by stories that portray it, and some cases attempt to explain it. These are a few of those stories.

Emilia's book list on subtle cruelty

Emilia Bernhard Why did Emilia love this book?

Vera and Eden are devoted sisters. One of them has an illegitimate baby.

The book is allegedly devoted to telling the story of how Vera came to kill Eden, but in telling this story it also attempts to determine which one of them is the baby’s mother.

In doing both of these, however, it also details the ways in which people, even people who seem to be devoted to each other, can make each other’s lives miserable, and can choose to make their own lives miserable. 

Vine (aka. Ruth Rendell) is, of course the mistress of psychological suspense, and for me this is the best book she ever wrote.

By Barbara Vine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dark-Adapted Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Dazzling...writing at her formidable best, Barbara Vine taps the poetry as well as the pain of her characters' clamorous declarations of their need for love." -New York Times Book Review

"When the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world launched a second byline, she actually stepped up her writing a level." -TIME

Faith Severn has grown up with the dark cloud of murder looming over her family. Her aunt Vera Hillyard, a rigidly respectable woman, was convicted and hanged for the crime, but the reason for her desperate deed died with her. Thirty years later, a probing journalist pushes Faith…


Book cover of The Reckless Oath We Made

Barbara Claypole White Author Of The Unfinished Garden

From my list on romance to feature characters with mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

The two people I love most, my husband and my son, manage obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their struggles constantly inspire me and illustrate the courage it takes to navigate everyday life with an invisible disability. We don’t talk enough about that courage. Instead, society passes judgment and shares OCD jokes. There’s nothing funny about a chronic, potentially fatal illness that demands lifelong management. After all, we don’t laugh at diabetics, and people aren’t defined by their disabilities. (Think of Helen Keller’s achievements!) My passion is to create characters who chip away at the stigma, shame, and stereotypes of mental illness. They also prove the mantra, “You are not your disorder.” Amen.

Barbara's book list on romance to feature characters with mental illness

Barbara Claypole White Why did Barbara love this book?

This love story is unique. Zee is a hot-tempered drug dealer with a damaged leg. Sir Gentry is a sweet guy on the autism spectrum who hears voices, thinks he’s her Medieval champion, and talks only in Middle English. But lack of judgment, understanding, and compassion make them equals in love.

By Bryn Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Reckless Oath We Made as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new provocative love story from the New York Times bestselling author of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.
 
“The story of Zee and Gentry is the reason we read.” —Brunonia Barry
 
Their journey will break them—or save them.
 
A moving and complicated love story for our time, The Reckless Oath We Made redefines what it means to be heroic. Zee has never admitted to needing anybody. But she needs Gentry. Her tough exterior shelters a heart that’s loyal to the point of self-destruction, while autistic Gentry wears his heart on his sleeve, including his desire to protect Zee at…


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